Udaipur: The Eternal Connection of Communities
While in Udaipur, I was awakened each morning, by a man yelling, “Sub-zee!” He was one of many wallah’s that passed through Fatehpura each day selling everything from socks to squash.You may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal about that?” However, as an American returning home to Boston after 7 weeks in Udaipur, I have to say it’s the vendors and shop owners of India that will I miss the most
Article by: Jeanne Dasaro
While in Udaipur, I was awakened each morning, by a man yelling, “Sub-zii!” He was one of many wallah’s that passed through Fatehpura each day selling everything from socks to squash.
You may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal about that?” However, as an American returning home to Boston after 7 weeks in Udaipur, I have to say it’s the vendors and shop owners of India that will I miss the most. Don’t get me wrong, the views from Neemach Mata Temple were spectacular and walking around Fateh Sagar Lake at sunrise was magical, but we have views equally as spectacular in the States.
What we don’t have however, is a local community as vibrant as what I experience while in Udaipur.
During my stay I found myself in need of a variety of items, yarn for a crochet project, a tiffin for my lunch, and I was told I could find what I needed in Hathipole. However with countless stores in Hathipole, I always had to ask those passing by where I could find what I was looking for.
An intimate knowledge of their community made the answers I received easy to follow and accurate, “You can purchase yarn from a shop about 10 shops before the clocktower.” A small, locally owned business would have exactly what I needed and quite often would offer chai while I shopped. Amazing.
Anything I needed while in Udaipur could be bought locally and direct from a vendor. After 7 weeks, I came to know my milk man, the lady I bought my dinner vegetables from each day, the chai wallah, each making me feel incredibly connected to the community I was in.
It’s rare for me to have interactions like the ones I mentioned above since America has condensed all of its wallah’s and small businesses into just 2 or 3 mega-stores, like Wal-Mart or Easy Day, that also carry everything from socks to squash, except it is all under one roof.
Since the stores are large with so many staff members you rarely see the same people twice and are no longer are connected to the person that sold it to you. Quite different from the blocks of shops and shop owners in Hathipole.
Now at home in Boston, I keep asking myself, what happens if stores like Easy Day begin to replace the small locally owned shops and wallahs in Udaipur? How will things change?About Author: Jeanne Dasaro is an activist and entrepreneur. She’s co-founder of The New Prosperity Initiative. Find out more at http :// jeannedasaro . com or http :// thenewprosperityinitiative . org
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